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What may be a New Year for you, is a New Day for God
by Lisa Schipansky
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So it seems as though God's greatest works are just not done overnight; apparently, they take a lot of time, days, weeks, months even. I am starting to like that more about Him. Before, I would want an answer now, okay, maybe within the hour, but I slowly discovered that God doesn't quite work that way, and His time could even be YEARS of waiting, of listening, of small suffering {while I just throw myself in to the floor and have a fit about it} =)

I have been in a quiet place with God since before Thanksgiving. I had a little bit of falling out with my family and the more I think about it and reflect on it, it was all over nothing?! Basically, it boiled down to selfishness and pride, on all parts. My heart and mind were a whirlwind for a while and I just chose to not really think about it, that God would give me an answer about what I need to do when He felt I was ready and could act according to His will and plan, not mine. In that time, my emotions moved toward the Holidays with crazy family {I use the word crazy lightly- you know how it is with in-laws/extended family, etc.. so don't get too upset} My baby girl finally turning one was having a huge pull on my heart strings and just reflecting on the past year with her and my husband.

I must say, I had a few run-ins with frustrations over the Holidays, but who doesn't? You know, someone would say or do something that you just have to do a double take and then make your way to the non-alcoholic egg nog {for me anyway, since being pregnant I can't necessarily "booze it up"?} We had all the grandparents in town for Meadow's first birthday and it actually turned out exactly the way I wanted it to. We have some in Orlando, FL and then over in Augusta, GA, and then two here in Huntsville. Hello grandparent madness!! I did everything that I wanted to do and I did it my way. That was the only time, EVER, that my baby girl would be turning one and I am glad that I didn't do anything different. I still would not have done anything different.
I got to take a good hard look at my surroundings while having family in town. I got to see what, we often, overlook- our place in other people's lives. I am sure that God had a sense of humor when He asked me, a woman who comes from divorced parents, to marry a man who also comes from divorced parents, so that we could love each other up right on in to grandparent land. Probably more so why my husband and I value our relationship, commitment to marriage, and each other more than anything.

I think what frustrated me most was that people in our lives spend way too much time just "thinking".. I mean we are constantly thinking, and especially us women, so I had about six women, their emotions, feelings, and thoughts all channeling in and from different directions. And when it comes to the grandbabies, what woman isn't excited and just all over the place? But sometimes we channel a lot of what we feel and think in to unnecessary territory because it was a part of our past, someone didn't love us enough from our past, we had a bad relationship in our past, and so we think that we need to fix that now, with the people around us, even in the grandchildren. Sometimes I really think we just need to stop, step back, and just listen and enjoy who God has made in the people around us. And, there are times when family can be frustrating, tempting, and just wear you out. Maybe God has placed such a big family in my life because He wants me to share or teach them something; that is, if they are willing to learn and listen. You can learn so much from your children, even your grandchildren; I think a lot of parents take that for granted. I think a lot of parents are still looking for what they are "entitled" to for years of upbringing and hard work. I do not doubt years of upbringing, hard work, and sacrifice are not valid reasons for some praise for all they have made us to be. That is a true testimony to be celebrated!

But, Joyce Meyer could not have said it better, "It was God's place in the parentís life to make sure they bring up their children and raise them according to His will, once that is done, the parents job is done, it is God's turn now to continue to make in them the young women and men He has called them to be; it is now the parents role to ENJOY their children and who they are." Joyce Meyer, "Eat the Cookie, Buy the Shoes"

I could not have seen this in a more clear representation in my own life, than a message my dad left in my baby girl's first birthday card. It brings tears to my eyes every time I think about it. He wrote that Meadow could not have come at a more perfect time in his life, as it was a time when God was changing his. Meadow Grace was my dad's "saving grace". I do not know how much or what exactly God is doing in my dad's life, but I do know that He was up to something, that he was changing my dad, and my own child brought about a peace of a miracle. My dad has always known who God is, but I think it took him a while to finally have a real meaningful relationship and walk with God. And maybe I was never the "push" for that relationship, but it was my baby girl, it was his grandbaby that changed something in him, that assisted in changing something in him. I can say we've talked about God and I am so happy that my dad is growing a strong relationship with God and that is a special part of his life. And I must say I have never seen him smile and laugh more when we are all together and I love that.

This leads in to another incident that changed my look on things. A sweet friend of mine passed away. I could probably say that she was like a second mother to me, especially in high school when I felt like no one understood where I was coming from, she did. I didn't get to tell her a lot of things that I wished I had or get together again with her and tell her about the type of mother I had become before she passed away. I am ashamed for that; but I do remember her telling me {in one of our many talks on her balcony} she said that "being a mother changes everything, the kind of love you have for your babies is not like anything else, you will fight, suffer, and do and say things you never thought you would.." and she was right and I wish that I could share everything with her now because I know exactly what she would tell me. She would say "Lisa, you keep fighting, you keep doing what you know is right as a mother.."

Life is short, there is no question there, but it is not that short that God wants you to use that as an excuse not to do and not to be the woman of God, or man of God, that He has called you to be. It is not an excuse for us to walk in our own selfish pride because "we may not be here tomorrow": you are right, we may not be here tomorrow, but did you live your last day for God or did you live your last day for yourself? I say this because even in my own huge family, a lot of times we are thrown in about twenty different directions, trying some way to muster up the strength to please everyone. But a lot of times, people don't change, and their outlook, attitude, and response cause us to distance ourselves at times only because that behavior is hurtful to a family member. And then we are given the "life is too short to worry about the silly small stuff.." phrase that has been used year after year after year. And so it is definitely true: to a certain extent. The world is full of "silly small stuff" that I think more people get worked up over and think way too much about: you're running a few minutes late for work, you spill coffee on your shirt, your child pulls out 50 pieces of tupperware all over the kitchen floor, so what?? That phrase is not acceptable when important decisions, love, support and encouragement are asked of you from God and you are just not wanting to "give in" to what He is requiring of you.

If there is one thing that my own little family has taught me, that is to be flexible. We are constantly in a state of change, and we very well should be, if we are walking under an umbrella of God. We should never want to stand still for too long, that is the best opportune time for the devil to let us know what we are doing wrong.

Wow! I say all this now; as I am gearing up for another whirlwind, wild and crazy, love filled roller coaster ride with a newborn in the next week, because I know that another new year brings another new book of challenges. I like to think of my life as never having to "start over at the beginning of each new year" but that I start over at the beginning of each new day and I am thankful for a God who never holds me captive past the second I ask Him for forgiveness.

So-- I leave you with this verse, as it has been my favorite bible verse since I can remember: "When trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for great joy; for when your faith is tested your endurance has a chance to grow; so let it grow, when your endurance is fully developed, you will be STRONG in character; ready for ANYTHING" - James 1

Lisa Schipansky

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